Teams inquiring on Phil Kessel

The fact that teams are calling and asking about the pricetag on Phil Kessel is not really news, and has been happening for several months now, but Elliotte Friedman’s report suggests something could possibly develop over the next few weeks leading up the draft.

[quote_box_center]Of all the potential trades Toronto could make, the most intriguing is Phil Kessel. He’s played five-straight full seasons, with 151 goals in that time. Even in a down year, which this was, he had 25.

At the combine, there were a few teams asking others their opinion of his game, his ability and his future. Word is teams are now calling the Maple Leafs, and asking, “If we want to do this, what’s the price?”

Toronto is prepared to do it, because by the time it’s ready to win again, Kessel may be out of his prime. But my guess is, if it happens, it’s still a couple of weeks away, because of the complexity. Everyone has to do their due diligence, including Kessel, because he’s going to have to want go to the team that wants him. And, from what I gather, things aren’t far enough along to involve him yet.[/quote_box_center]

Mark Hunter named a 3-5 year timeline for contention yesterday (audio below), so that puts Kessel at 30-32 years old by that point. Needless to say, a deal returning the right few high-end young pieces that could help the team contend for the next 5-10 years would make sense for a team in the Leafs‘ position. It has to be the right pieces, though, and surely the Leafs don’t move Kessel unless the package starts with a really good young center coming back, or a high enough pick to grab themselves one.

Mark Hunter at the Draft Combine

Sunday Links:

  • Elliotte Friedman: 30 Thoughts — NHL to ban shot-blocking techniques? (Sportsnet)
    One defenceman who knows Mike Babcock’s style on the adjustments the Maple Leafs’ blue-liners must make: “It takes time to trust the system. You’re used to skating backward, but they want you to attack the forwards. It’s different. You’re always taught, ‘Don’t get beat one-on-one.’ Now, you pressure almost as soon they get the puck. I was not accustomed to it, but once you figure it out, it’s fun to play, because it limits the other team’s time with the puck.”
  • Jeff Simmons: Leafs open to trading fourth overall pick (Sportsnet)
    “It’s something we would definitely look at,” Leafs interim co-GM Kyle Dubas told The Toronto Star on Saturday. “If someone else was adamant about a player, we’re pretty comfortable with the players in that (4-6) cluster.”
  • Jonas Siegel: Leafs use draft interview to suss out ‘character people’ (
    Just this week, Ivan Provorov, racing to be the first defenceman picked at the Florida draft, is said to have blown away NHL clubs with his maturity in the interview stage.
  • Michael Traikos: Mark Hunter says club won’t rush top draft picks into the NHL: ‘We’re going to look to be patient’ (National Post)
    “I’m sure some of them are ready to play, like skill wise,” said Hunter. “Physically, it always worries me. I’ve seen kids come into the National Hockey League, just in my experience … the [Gilbert] Brules, who end up getting hurt. To me, that’s a bigger concern.
  • Kevin McGran: Maple Leafs may look to trade top selection (Toronto Star)
    Dubas: “We need to be acquiring as many draft pick assets as we can, as many prospects as we can. If there was something that made sense, we’d be open to listening and having some thorough discussions on the fourth pick.”

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